Bryan Garner review

An interesting review of Bryan Garner’s (2016) Modern English Usage has just been posted HERE on Linguist List.

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Just out (surprise)

Today, we found out that our article “Prescriptive attitudes to English” is published, that it has been out for two months already. Thanks, Carmen, for tweeting about it, or I wouldn’t have known. Still, I’m really pleased, and expect Carmen will be, too: it is as interactive as we could make it, with loads of links (lots of prescriptivism goodies), and of course plenty of interesting (we hope!) content. We hope it will be widely read and quoted of course.

Oxford Research Encyclopedias

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Grammar Badgers

A few weeks ago, I gave a guest lecture through Skype for students at the University of Wisconsin. Interesting experience, and fantastic students they were. Their teacher, Anja Wanner, told me they were busy preparing an outreach project (obligatory at the university there, and what a great idea!), for which they used the university mascot, a badger. The project, called Grammar Badgers, is now available online, and it looks very interesting indeed. It contains a grammar quiz, videos, podcasts and a lot more besides. Browse around, I would say, and take the test! And give them your Likes in the process.

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Metalanguage usage in the UK primary school classroom

Here’s an article from the UK Guardian newspaper on the use of grammar metalanguage in UK primary school tests!

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Microsoft Word, or: what is wrong with prescriptivism?

I’m reading through Carmen Ebner’s PhD thesis one more time (defense coming up soon!), and it strikes me in my own writings, too, every time – the red squiggles under prescriptivism, as in the header to this post. It makes me terribly insecure: is the second r in place? What is wrong with the word, why don’t they like it, over at Microsoft?

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How many d’s in Grand(d)ad? No riddle

This post is dedicated to Clive Upton, who was surprised that I spelled Granddad with two d’s in the middle. I’m no native speaker, and just told myself: surely it must be grand + dad. Since then I looked it up in my copy of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, which allows for either: grand(d)ad, but this doesn’t help the linguistically insecure or those of us who just want to know which of the two is the correct spelling. Surely one must be better than the other? So, tell us what YOU think is better or more correct? Or if you think either is fine, in which case it wouldn’t be a usage problem?

Even if most people on this blog voted for granDDad (71.4% at the moment of writing), Penguin seems to prefer granDad. Or seemed to do so in the mid-1980s: I’ve just reread Nice Work by David Lodge (p. 373, where Grandad is spelled with a capital G as well).

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TIME Magazine – a style guide?

I’d like to know if TIME Magazine employs a style guide. The answer is of course “yes”, but do they have style guide of their own? And is it publicly available?

In particular, I’d like to be able to see what their views are on the placement of only (he only had/had only one chapter to finish). The reason I’m asking is that my search for this construction in the TIME Magazine Corpus produced fewer instances of had only (the prescribed variant) than only had (the criticised form) for the last decade which I looked at (the 2000s). The decrease suggests that only had is now no longer the prescribed form. Does anyone have any views on what may have happened in terms of TIME’s editorial style? And can anyone help me find access to TIME’s styleguide if such a thing exists?

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